mig-29-fightersRussia has reportedly begun large-scale air defense drills as tensions with the West continue escalating over the fate of Crimea. Roughly 3,500 troops and more than 1,000 units of military hardware will be hosted for about a month in Kapustin Yar, some 280 miles east of the Ukrainian border. The exercise by Russia’s Western Military District, according to a report from RIA Novosti, will culminate with live-firing drills and deployment of air defense systems. “It is for the first time that all air defense units from the district, including coastal defenses of the Northern Fleet, have gathered in one place,” district spokesman Col. Oleg Kochetkov said, adding that the drills were part of regular training cycles. “It is the largest-ever exercise held by air defense units of the Western Military District.” MORE